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Vaginal Yeast Infections During Pregnancy 

A vaginal yeast infection
(also known as vulvovaginal candidiasis) is an infection of the vagina most commonly caused by the yeast Candida albicans, a type of fungus.  Nearly 3 out 4 adult women will have at least one "yeast infection" in their lifetime.

Symptoms of Yeast Infection

If you have a vaginal yeast infection you may experience itching, burning, a cottage-cheese like vaginal discharge,  redness of the vagina and labia,  and pain with sex or urination.

Causes of Yeast Infections

Yeast normally live in the intestines and mucus membranes of many women. Some circumstances can  allow the yeast to grow more rapidly and out of control. For example, antibiotics can kill off the bacteria that normally compete with yeasts for growth, allowing the yeasts to grow in place of the bacteria. Some other factors that can allow yeast to grow out of control include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Douching
  • Steroids  such as prednisone
  • Hormonal contraceptives

Effect on Pregnancy

The Candida albicans yeast can be transmitted to a baby from its mother. Mature babies may develop oral thrush, a condition where  the yeast grows as white patches on the tongue and inside the cheeks of the baby.  In very premature babies the yeast
may become a more serious infection.

Treatment of Vaginal Candida Infections

If you believe you have a vaginal yeast infection, contact  your doctor to arrange for an examination . If you appear to have a vaginal yeast infection, your doctor  may recommend one of the following medications 

Recommend Regimens for Pregnant Women

Over-the-Counter Intravaginal Agents:

Clotrimazole 1% cream 5 g intravaginally for 7--14 days OR

Miconazole 2% cream 5 g intravaginally for 7 days OR

Miconazole 100 mg vaginal suppository, one suppository for 7 days OR

Prescription Intravaginal Agents:

Nystatin 100,000-unit vaginal tablet, one tablet for 14 days OR

Terconazole 0.4% cream 5 g intravaginally for 7 days

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  does not recommend the use of oral medications for the treatment of vaginal yeast infections  during pregnancy.

Use the creams or suppositories as directed. Do not stop using these medications early. Most women can expect cure within 2 weeks after starting treatment. You should return for follow-up visits with your doctor  if symptoms continue or come back within 2 months after treatment.

A yeast infection during pregnancy is not unusual. However, if you have numerous vaginal yeast or thrush infections, you should ask your doctor to be evaluated for diabetes and HIV.

Prevention of Vaginal Yeast Infections

The following may help to prevent vaginal yeast infections:

  • Keep your sugar well controlled if you are a diabetic
  • Keep your genital area dry
  • Do not douche

1.Cotch MF, Hillier SL, Gibbs RS, Eschenbach DA .Epidemiology and outcomes associated with moderate to heavy Candida colonization during pregnancy. Vaginal Infections and Prematurity Study Group. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1998 Feb;178(2):374-80.PMID: 9500502
2. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2010. Workowski KA, Berman S; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). MMWR Recomm Rep. 2010 Dec 17;59(RR-12):1-110. PMID: 21160459

3.Leibovitz E.Strategies for the prevention of neonatal candidiasis.Pediatr Neonatol. 2012 Apr;53(2):83-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pedneo.2012.01.004. Epub 2012 Mar 3. PMID: 22503254



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